Sit back and take in the delicacies and the ambience at Blue Hickey Bistro

We could well be sitting in one of those houses that you see on Vh1’s The Crib. More like the interiors of a hip-hop artiste’s mansion with all that bling — blue velvet couches embellished with chunky diamond-like studs, dramatic blue chandelier, tables matted with Vogue covers… There’s Scarlet Johansson pouting and Mrs. Obama smiling at me as I sip on my glass of mocktail. We are at Blue Hickey Bistro at Radisson Blu Hotel GRT.

The place is a flurry of blue, and quite a contrast to the otherwise sedate lobby of the hotel. It’s probably trying to be hip; somehow gives the impression of a new kid in high school trying to befriend the cool gang.

Since it’s open 24 hours, this could be a good location for the after-party to carry on. It also helps that the menu has quite a selection, including Japanese, South Indian, North Indian, Italian...

For appetisers, we go with the chef’s recommendation, and raise an eyebrow when he suggests kachoris. Street food somehow doesn’t feel right in a plush setting, but the kachoris with sprout and potato stuffing are heavenly, and leave us with nothing to complain about.

Next comes the panko crumb fried squid in a cone; the calamari is just so plump and crispy that you can’t stop with one. Apparently here, they serve art on plate and the chefs are the artists. The Naurangi Phuljhari, a girthy mutton seekh kebab studded with bits of tomato and capsicum crumbles gently when you pass the knife through it. One of the favourites from The Great Kebab Factory, this kebab has now sealed its place at the Blue Hickey’s menu as well.

Relax and dine

Moving on to the main course seems like an ordeal for two reasons — one, because we are quite full and two, the diverse list of appetisers. So we wait for a while and tap our feet to ‘Buffalo Soldier’ before ordering a Nasi Goreng and Futomaki. Since the bistro is in the lobby level and isn’t confined within high walls, we sit back and watch people walk in and out of the hotel — business travellers with their trademark suits, holidaying couples, travellers clutching onto IPL team jerseys, a little French kid waddling across with a Chhota Bheem doll…

Our food arrives and we gasp…a serving of Nasi Goreng topped with fried egg and chicken satay is probably enough to feed Chhota Bheem and his gang of friends. It’s a spicy version of the otherwise bland fried rice and we like it better than the Futomaki, which is a roll of rice wrapped around shiitake mushrooms, cucumber and egg.

The meal ends with a desi twist… coconut payasam sprinkled with measured strands of saffron and served in a martini glass. Little chunks of coconut make their way into every mouthful, and we say it’s mandatory to save space for this flavourful dessert.

(Radisson Blu Hotel GRT Chennai is located at No. 532, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. For details, call 2231-0101)